Grant Secures Major Scientific Equipment for the Biological Sciences

– Dr. Michael Grace, Florida Tech associate professor of biological sciences, has earned a $346,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Major
Research Instrumentation program. With an additional $148,000 match from Florida Tech, the funding will support a major purchase of scientific equipment.

New equipment will include a variable pressure scanning electron microscope with support equipment, a digital image capture system for the Department of Biological Science’s existing transmission electron microscope, and a state-of-the-art ultramicrotome
(slicer) for preparing ultra-thin sections of material for viewing in the electron microscopes.

“These instruments will immediately revolutionize our abilities in biological sciences to analyze the functional architecture of the retina and brain. We
will also be able to investigate the sub-cellular organization of dividing cells and developing tissues, and identify and characterize ancient pollen
grains, among other things,” said Grace.

The instruments will also be used by researchers in other Florida Tech science and engineering departments to develop novel fire-retardant polymers, to
create new materials that better withstand harsh environments, to understand the properties of Martian dust and to develop new nanomaterials and
nonosensors. Cross-disciplinary collaboration across engineering and biological sciences departments is also in the plans.

Florida Tech was one of just two Florida institutions of higher education listed in Peterson’s Top Colleges for Science and has been named as one of
America’s best colleges by U.S. News & World Report for more than a dozen consecutive years.

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